I hate New Years.
No, wait, let me explain. I hate trying to find things to do on New Year’s Eve. It’s always expensive and crowded and you never know if what you blindly walk into is going to be enjoyable because, let’s call it what it is, New Year’s Eve is amateur hour. So, I am here to help solve your New Year’s Eve dining woes. Mercat Bistro in uptown is the answer. Nestled into a little cozy, almost Parisian-looking, side building next to Saint Ann’s, Mercat Bistro is offering up a reasonably priced New Year’s Eve dinner for its patrons. For $75 ($100 if you indulge in the wine pairings – which I recommend you should, the wine is phenomenal) you will be able to experience a three-course (four if you include the amuse-bouche) menu showcasing all the flavors of Europe.
I have never been to Europe, so I imagine this quaint little cafe-esque spot is what dining on the streets of Paris, or really any European country, is really like. It’s intimate with romantic lighting to allow you and your date to escape the realities of Dallas for the time you share. The staff is incredibly friendly and willing to offer any recommendations. Plus, there is an open-air kitchen which allows you to watch as they create your dishes.
But we are here for the food. So let’s get started.
Amuse-bouche – Appetizer
(This is a small, typically bite-sized, dish to start off your meal)
Served in a cucumber cup that is scooped out to add more smoked salmon, topped with dill crème fraîche and caviar. This was a great starter. You get plenty of smoked salmon so you will not go wanting. This is the second time I’ve tried caviar and it went much better this time around. There are two ways to tackle this because it’s small, I went hands on but ate it in two bites. You can be classy, not saying I’m not classy, and eat it with a fork and knife, I’m sure more people would appreciate that but if you pop it in your mouth fast enough no one will even notice that you used your hands.
First Course – Soup or Salad
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Gold and red roasted beets topped with creamy goat cheese, orange segments, frisée salad, candied walnuts and drizzled with strawberry maple vinaigrette. I am a sucker for a beet-goat cheese salad so I jumped at this choice. It’s a good sized portion and there’s a healthy serving of goat cheese under those greens, and we all know I love my cheese.
Creamy, rich, velvety, all these adjective will work when describing this soup. Let’s call it what it is, everyone is going to order lobster bisque, and do it! It’s delicious. Little chunks of lobster floating in a sea of delicious flavor.
Second Course – Main Entree
Filet Au Poivre
Filet rested on Yukon puree, grilled asparagus and topped with an armagnac peppercorn demiglaze. Standard meat and potatoes, only nothing “standard” about it. You get a filet about 2 inches thick cooked just the way you like it, cough medium rare cough. The asparagus are thick as tree trunks and the potatoes were buttery and smooth.
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Sea Bass over orzo pasta mixed with spinach and mushrooms topped with mushroom espuma (foam). I’ve never had sea bass, that I can recall, so you gotta try something new sometimes. It’s the size of swordfish but the flaky consistency of a halibut or salmon.
Served over Spanish rice, with haricot vert and topped with a port reduction. If I didn’t get the sea bass I would have gone with the duck, it fell off the bone.
Third Course – Dessert
Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, topped with a strawberry. So dense, so decadently chocolate.
Apple Frangipane (tart)
A rustic-style tart filled with apples and almond creme topped with cinnamon ice cream and caramel drizzle. Apple pie is meant for the holidays so this just fits.
So, ring in the New Year at one of the Top 100 Very Best Restaurants according to Culture Map. It will be intimate, it will be delicious, and it will be a good time all around.